Important! California Adopts New Rule for Initial Disclosures in Discovery

This month’s Litigation Tip comes directly from one of our favorite boutique litigation firms in San Francisco: Lewis + Llewellyn.

Founding Partners Marc Lewis and Paul Llewellyn spoke at our litigation related seminars many years ago, and we frequently have attorneys from the firm speak at our annual Superior Court and Federal Court Boot Camps as well as our Depo training programs, including Evangeline Burbidge, Ryan Erickson and Becca Furman.

California Adopts New Rule for Initial Disclosures in Discovery

On September 30, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 235 (SB235) into law, which amends California Code of Civil Procedure section 2016.090.  It institutes a new procedure for initial disclosures of information and documents.  Beginning on January 1, 2024, parties will be required to make initial witness and document disclosures within 60 days of another party’s request.  Failure to comply or act in good faith with the new law will result in a court-imposed sanction of $1,000.

The initial disclosures shall include:

“The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses of all persons likely to have discoverable information … that the disclosing party may use to support its claims or defenses, or that is relevant to the subject matter of the action or the order on any motion made in that action.”

“A copy, or a description by category and location, of all documents” and

Any insurance policies that may be used “to satisfy, in whole or in part, a judgment entered in the action or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment.”

The new law also clarifies that “a party is not excused from its initial disclosures because it has not fully investigated the case, because it challenges the sufficiency of another party’s disclosures, or because another party has not made it’s disclosures.”  The rule will remain in effect until January 1, 2027.

These changes have the potential to streamline fact investigations and reduce the amount of written discovery exchanged between parties.  The new timeline will also require counsel to evaluate their position and case strategy much earlier to ensure all relevant information is captured in the initial disclosure.  Counsel would be well-advised to familiarize themselves with the new rule, which may catch opposing counsel off guard.


Thank you to everyone at Lewis + Llewellyn for allowing us to re-publish your Litigation Tip of the Month and most especially for speaking at our litigation seminars year after year!


John Mullan is our Latest Featured Speaker!

John Mullan is our latest featured speaker!

John will present at our upcoming 2nd Annual Employment Law Year in Review, a two-part webinar held on January 16 and January 18, 2024.

John joined Rudy Exelrod Zieff & Lowe in 2002, and currently leads the class action practice group. He has a deep knowledge of state and federal employment laws, which protect workers from employers who do not provide proper compensation. John has successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars in unpaid wages for his clients from some of the largest employers in California. These class action lawsuits include allegations of unpaid wages, unpaid overtime wages, violations of meal and rest breaks, and gender discrimination. John frequently co-counsels large class action cases with other firms.

John is also an experienced litigator, representing individuals with employment law claims such as wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, and whistleblower retaliation.  He represents many high profile clients, such as Tinder founder Whitney Wolfe in her sexual harassment lawsuit against the company.

John has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer since 2013, and was previously recognized as a “Rising Star for Northern California” by Super Lawyers. He is a graduate of the UC Berkeley School of Law, where he served as an executive editor of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law.

We have had many partners from Rudy Exelrod Zieff & Lowe speak over the years – all to rave reviews – and John comes highly recommended by several of them.

Thank you for sharing your expertise with us, John! We’re looking forward to your presentation on employment law.

Kathryn B. Fox is our Latest Featured Speaker!

Kathryn B. Fox is senior counsel at Buchalter. She is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment practice group and Vice-Chair of the Franchise Law industry group in the firm’s San Diego office.

Don’t miss Kathryn’s upcoming talk at our 2nd Annual Employment Law Year in Review, a two-part webinar on January 16 and 18 that entails a comprehensive discussion on California and federal employment law in 2023.

Ms. Fox advises employers on litigation avoidance and provides counseling on workplace law matters.  She has experience representing clients in single-plaintiff cases involving allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage and hour issues. She also routinely advises and represents clients in class action and representative PAGA cases involving wage-and-hour allegations, including failure to pay regular and overtime wages, meal period and rest break violations, misclassification issues, piece-rate pay agreements, and reimbursement claims. Her representation of clients includes defending actions in state and federal court, in arbitrations, before the EEOC, DFEH, DLSE and EDD, and in mediation. Ms. Fox also provides trainings to clients on workplace privacy issues, preventing workplace harassment, and best practices for complying with California wage and hour laws.

Ms. Fox has been named a 2021-2023 “One to Watch” by Best Lawyers for her work in Labor and Employment Law: Management. Ms. Fox was also recognized as a 2021 “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine.

Just a coupler of highlights from Ms. Fox’s work include:

Successfully obtained a full dismissal of all claims against a large biotech company after filing demurrers and minimal discovery.

Obtained summary judgment for three defendants (two companies and the plaintiff’s manager) in a case involving allegations of age discrimination, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and breach of implied contract.

Thank you for sharing your expertise with us, Kathryn!


Tony J. Oncidi is our Latest Featured Speaker!

Tony J. Oncidi is our latest featured speaker!

Catch Tony’s upcoming talk at our 2nd Annual Employment Law Year in Review, a two-part webinar on a comprehensive discussion on California and Federal employment law for 2023. You don’t want to miss this!

Tony gave an enlightening, informative presentation at last year’s Employment Law Year in Review which is available for download here.

Tony is a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP and heads the West Coast Labor & Employment group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Tony is recognized as a leading lawyer by such highly respected publications and organizations as the Los Angeles Daily JournalThe Hollywood Reporter, and Chambers USA, which gives him the highest possible rating (“Band 1”) for Labor & Employment.  According to Chambers USA, clients say Tony is “brilliant at what he does… He is even keeled, has a high emotional IQ, is a great legal writer and orator, and never gives up.” Other clients report:  “Tony has an outstanding reputation” and he is “smart, cost effective and appropriately aggressive.” Tony is hailed as “outstanding,” particularly for his “ability to merge top-shelf lawyerly advice with pragmatic business acumen.” He is highly respected in the industry, with other commentators lauding him as a “phenomenal strategist” and “one of the top employment litigators in the country.”

We’re looking forward to hearing you present, Tony!

Rich Matthews is our Latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Rich Matthews from Jurology!

Rich is a popular and knowledgeable speaker on jury issues. Rich repeatedly presents at our jury selection programs such as our two-part  Art of Jury Selection California program from July 12, 2022-July 14, 2022.

Rich will speak at our upcoming Mastering Jury Selection and Winning Jury Trials: The Right Story for the Right Panel, a two-part webinar on December 12, 2023 and December 14, 2023.

For more than 20 years, Rich has been an attorney, trial consultant, and “mythbuster” for a lot of the widespread but often incorrect beliefs about jurors and jury selection. Rich combines research with psychology with artistic craft to create the best frames and themes for your case . . . and get the best results from jurors or in settlement.

His expertise includes separating jury issues from the legal issues; crafting the themes and frames that will shape juror perception of a case; writing openings and closings like a human actually speaks to other humans and in a story format that will bring your audience to your case (rather than the reverse); witness preparation; and all things related to jury selection from juror questionnaires and voir dire questions to exercising cause and peremptory challenges.

Rich has innovated the use of focus group results at mediations and in negotiations to achieve better settlements in a shorter time than clients had experienced without them.

Rich has appeared on national television and in major publications offering commentary on high profile trials. He serves on the California Bar’s Litigation Section’s committee for comment on proposed revisions to California’s standard jury instructions, lending his juror expertise to improving the understandability and clarity of jury instructions.

Rich works nationwide and is located in San Francisco and received his J.D. from the University of Oregon School of Law.

Megan E. Thibert-Ind is our Latest Featured Speaker

Our latest featured speaker is Megan E. Thibert-Ind from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP!

Megan is a frequent speaker at our Illinois circuit court boot camp programs, most recently at our 12th Annual Illinois Circuit Court Boot Camp in December 2022.

Because of her in-depth knowledge and insight on civil litigation, Megan will be speaking at our upcoming 13th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp program, which will be held in-person with a live streaming format in Chicago on December 8, 2024.

Megan Thibert-Ind is a health care and civil litigation partner in Manatt, Phelps & Phillips’s Chicago office. She has extensive experience representing businesses across Manatt’s industry sectors, including a focus on health care stakeholders—such as hospital systems and academic medical centers, ambulatory surgery and urgent care centers, pharmacy services providers, and life sciences companies—as they navigate a variety of complex business controversies, contractual and regulatory disputes, and post-acquisition challenges.

Megan also advises pharmaceutical companies on 340B Drug Pricing Program reimbursement and indemnification claims and provides guidance to life sciences companies facing product liability exposure.

Megan represents clients in litigation pending in state and federal courts nationwide and has handled numerous matters before the American Arbitration Association and other alternative dispute resolution tribunals. Additionally, she regularly navigates complex expert witness issues, including financial analysis, lost profits and damages, and causation and other liability issues.

Alongside her litigation work, Megan is noted for her service as an active member of the Chicago community and is dedicated to providing pro bono services across a range of subject matters. She has represented undocumented immigrants; victims of gender-based hate crimes, domestic violence and employment discrimination; not-for-profit arts organizations; and parents wrongfully indicated for abuse. She also serves on the board of directors of Legal Aid Chicago, the largest nonprofit civil legal services provider in Cook County.

Thank you for joining us again, Megan!  We appreciate you coming back.


Kimberly Valentine is our Latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Kimberly Valentine from Valentine Law Group!

Kimberly spoke most recently our 18th Annual Superior Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (CA) webinar on October 13, 2023 as part of the Southern California faculty. The program was also held late October with Northern CA judges and faculty. Both programs are available as Recorded Packages.

Kimberly has taught a few times at our annual Superior Court Boot Camps every October, to rave reviews, which is why we keep inviting her back.  Kimberly is a terrific teacher who always provides a ton of practical information and is very much appreciated by our attendees.

Kimberly  is the principal attorney at Valentine Law Group where she has dedicated her career in the practice of law to advocating for the vulnerable, the injured and the infirm. She practices in the areas of elder abuse, medical malpractice, products liability, serious personal injury, and government tort claims litigation.

Outside of the firm, Kimberly is an Associate with the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and serves as the National Board Representative for the Orange County ABOTA Chapter. She has received the Orange County Trial Lawyers Association’s Top Gun award as an exceptional Elder Abuse litigator multiple times and has been recognized as a California Trial Lawyers Associations “Street Fighter” Award finalist. She was also named a Super Lawyer each year since 2014. Super Lawyers Southern California Magazine named her as one of the top 50 Orange County lawyers and Top 50 Women lawyers in Southern California multiple times and did so again in 2021.

Kimberly’s passion for supporting the community led her to found Operation Helping Hands, a non-profit providing community college scholarships/stipends to housing insecure students as well as providing backpacks full of necessity items to the homeless population. Kimberly received the 2019 Trial Lawyers Care award from the American Association for Justice for her work in the community with Operation Helping Hands. She is one of the founding members and serves on the Board of Directors for Stop Elder Abuses, a non-profit organization which educates the public on the issue of abuse. She also sits on the Advisory Committee to the Los Angeles Elder Abuse Forensic Center. Ms. Valentine also serves on the advisory board for the non-profit organization Together We Rise which is dedicated to improving the lives of foster children.

Thank you for joining us again, Kimberly and we hope to see you again next year!

Ryan Moore is our Latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Ryan Moore from Fox Rothschild LLP!

Ryan most recently spoke at our 18th Annual Superior Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (CA) webinar on October 13, 2023 as part of the Southern California faculty. The program was also held late October 2023 as a webinar with Northern California judges and attorneys teaching.  Both programs are available as Recorded Packages.

Ryan received top-notch reviews at this program and we can’t wait to have him back.

Ryan is a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP, where he defends businesses against personal injury, product liability, toxic tort, property damage and other claims at trial and on appeal in state and federal courts as a seasoned commercial litigator.

With his vast experience representing businesses in the manufacturing and rail transportation industries, Ryan has garnered much success in complex commercial litigation. He has achieved summary judgment in the Western District Court of Washington in FELA lawsuit involving railroad defendant. Successfully drafted 9th Circuit Respondent’s Brief and Opposition to Appellant’s Motion to Certify Issues to State Supreme Court. Achieved summary judgment in Los Angeles Superior Court in FELA toxic injury (benzene) lawsuit involving railroad defendant. Summary judgment granted based on procedural argument raised in reply papers.

Thank you for joining us again, Ryan!

Chaya Mandelbaum is our Latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Chaya Mandelbaum from Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP!

Chaya will be speaking at our upcoming 18th Annual Superior Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (CA) webinar on October 27, 2023 as part of the Northern California faculty. The program was also held on October 13, 2023 as a webinar with Southern California judges and attorneys teaching. 

Most recently, Chaya spoke at our 19th Annual Federal Court Boot Camp (CA) program, where he was complimented for his practical strategies. Chaya is a frequent speaker with Pincus – he has taught at our Annual Federal Court Boot Camp for almost a decade.  We always invite him back because the attendees always give him great reviews and he is such a great teacher.

Chaya Mandelbaum is a Partner at Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, LLP where he represents employees in individual and class action litigation and negotiations across the spectrum of employment law. He has extensive experience in wage and hour, discrimination, retaliation, harassment and leave of absence matters.

Before joining Rudy, Exelrod, Zieff & Lowe, Chaya was a Senior Litigation Counsel at Sanford Heisler.  At Sanford Heisler, he represented employees in class actions involving wage and hour, discrimination and other civil rights claims.

Previously, Chaya was a Trial Attorney in the Office of the Solicitor for the United States Department of Labor.  In that capacity, he successfully represented the Secretary of Labor in numerous significant enforcement actions, including a multi-million dollar wage and penalty recovery based on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  He obtained successful results in both jury and bench trials during his tenure. 

Chaya also recently served as Chair of the California Fair Employment and Housing Council.  He was appointed and re-appointed to the position by former California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. and his appointment and re-appointment were confirmed by the California Senate.  The Council promulgates regulations related to employment and housing discrimination and holds hearings on civil rights issues confronting the state.

Thank you for joining us again, Chaya!

Barbara Adams is our Latest Featured Speaker!

Our latest featured speaker is Barbara Adams from Steptoe & Johnson LLP!

Barbara will be speaking at our upcoming 18th Annual Superior Court Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts (CA) webinar on October 27, 2023 as part of the Northern California faculty. The program started on October 13, 2023 as a webinar with Southern California judges and attorneys teaching. 

This will be the sixth time Barbara has taught this program. Barbara is a frequent speaker with Pincus and we have continued to invite her back because the attendees always have great things to say about her. Recently, Barbara spoke at our The Art of Jury Selection in California program, where she was praised by attendees for her knowledge and excellence as an attorney. 

We are excited to have her back!

Barbara is of counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where she specializes in the defense of toxic tort and product liability litigation involving asbestos, lead, food toxins, underground tanks, and other chemicals in personal injury, property damage, and long-term/latent injury litigation actions. Barbara has completed numerous jury trials in most of the Bay Area Superior Courts, otherwise successfully resolved complex cases, and has participated in the development of complex litigation rules for the Superior and Federal courts.

Barbara has a diverse litigation background that includes an emphasis on Proposition 65 litigation and toxic torts claims involving asbestos, lead, and mold. Barbara’s courtroom background is extensive. An experienced lead trial and appellate attorney, she has taken over 20 cases to verdict and has commenced more than 30 trials. She also has experience litigating personal injury, product defect, premises liability, and wrongful termination claims, as well as claims arising under California’s Lemon Law.

With a keen focus on providing superior quality work, Barbara is equally adept at resolving cases without resort to litigation. Barbara has briefed and argued cases before the California Courts of Appeal and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Northern California Super Lawyers has included Barbara among the area’s top attorneys for many years in recognition of her litigation excellence.

You can read Barbara’s views on toxic tort and chemical exposure issues at her blog, Toxics Defense.

Thank you for joining us again, Barbara!